If you go away for a few days, you will likely be bombarded with requests for oleh-oleh (souvenirs) when you get back: from your office-mates, your friends, even, in our case, the woman who runs the shop on the corner where you buy your drinking water. Everyone will pretend they’re kidding … but you’d better bring something back anyway, because you don’t want to be known as that person who never gives out any oleh-oleh.
These little flaky stuffed pastries called bakpia are a good choice when you go to Yogyakarta because they are 1. food, so you avoid matters of personal style; 2. affordable; 3. strongly associated with Yogya; 4. pretty universally acceptable (as opposed to, say, durian candy); and 5. tasty.
I found bakpia a little dry at first, but then they grew on me. The classic filling is sweet mung bean paste, which is good, but my favorite is purple yam. The colored dot on top tells you what the filling is.
This box confused me at first because it said purple yam on the front, but then listed the flavors on the side as chocolate, mung bean and cheese. The latter turned out to be flavors added to the purple yam, which is why the fillings above have slightly different colors.
Perhaps it’s a measure of how long I’ve been here that yam-and-cheese doesn’t strike me as a weird filling for a cookie. It does seem like gilding the lily, because yam is perfectly tasty on its own. Needless to say, that didn’t stop me from eating the whole box.